Alec Corper wrote:
I've been a poster and lurker on at least three different e-sites over the last7 years or so, and I'm aware that there are waves of ideas and feelings that sweep back and forth, and we tend to cover the same ground often. One thing sticks out for me which I want to post and see how many others out there feel the same way,
To me Aikido is a Budo. How I understand that is as a warrior path, one which requires moral and ethical development to go hand in hand with the actual ability to fight. When I read many of the posts on the net, here and elsewhere, I see levels of rudeness, disrespect, hostility, flippant assumption, aggressive assertion, and a host of other, what I would consider to be, unfortunate human characteristics.
Where is the respect and courtesy we should have for each other?
Where is the willingness to listen, and perhaps, sometimes to learn. There are very few occasions where you will see anyone actually changing their original position (opinion), so what is the point of dialogue.
Does care and kindness imply weakness? Sometimes it appears to me that the macho posturing that we indulge in from the safety of the keyboard is very dangerous for who we will become. And those who say they would be as rude and offensive in person, because they can "kick anyone's ass" are missing the point even more.
We offer each other resistance on the mat, not to indulge our own egos with how tough we are, but to enable our partner to develop, in the knowledge they will do the same for us. If not practice becomes impossible, only fighting to see who is the strongest, fastest, most skillful, good ego growing food, instead of a steady diet of the right kind of humility.
Then the magic of faceless, disembodied communication becomes available, and "Mr.Hyde" swims up to the surface spitting and snarling. Sarcasm and condescension become safe, acceptable weapons, casual opinions become valid expressions of "liberated" self, opinions are formed about others without real knowledge or facts, and identities become targets.
Now, it could be that I'm an oversensitive New Age, tree-hugging Aiki love bunny, or then again maybe not. There are some people out there who do know me, but most only know the image they form based upon what they think of what I write. Please consider this honestly. If you are one of those who agree, please say so, I know you're out there. If you disagree, feel free to say so, but please don't try to offend me in the process. Then, at least, if I do get offended, I'm the one who needs to grow up.
This is a very insightful and interesting post. I identified with your feelings and I resembled a couple of them although I try not to.
1) Just the concept of Aikido as budo is something I don't see a lot of on this forum. I think the reason is because most people haven't studied that enough to know what that means. Concerns about martial effectiveness peppered with comments that you need to add TKD for kicking and BJJ for groundwork are indications of the problem to me. Many have a concept of self defense alone. Then they see limitations to Aikido, then they construct an hodgepodge of arts to be the solution. O Sensei came from that kind of an art (Daito ryu) where they learned almost everything there was to learn but of course, they may have needed BJJ some would say. The Founder saw the futility of spending decades trying to become invincible as a fighter only to be defeated by someone bigger, stronger, faster and more skilled. I like the question once posed once by a Sensei to such a seeker when he asked, "What problems are you having in your life right now that requires you to have such a need for personal invincibility?"
2) The attitudes of the posters is a problem that will never be solved because people come here with only what they know, plus their human imperfections. Add personal ego and you have an unsolvable problem.
This statement you made is extremely insightful.
You wrote," Sometimes it appears to me that the macho posturing that we indulge in from the safety of the keyboard is very dangerous for who we will become." The Internet provides a kind of safety shield that allows all kinds of people to say all kinds of things they would never say to someone face to face. There are some who would counter what I am saying by stating they would be glad to talk that way to anyone's face but that is also a problem because in real life, we don't like people like that and most don't need friends like that. Many consider it part of a Bill of Rights of Internet forums to be rude, trash talk and have fun mouthing off. We will never solve that problem here.
There is also the problem of people privatizing the forum with throwaway lines and inane flippancy's that degrade the forum to where people that are smart enough to do what you are suggesting go elsewhere. The only hope is for the marketplace itself to solve this by letting things take their natural course and let everything become what it will. That makes our choices easier. If we continually run in circles and if the concentric circles keep spiraling downward, we will eventually have an Internet crash and that will be the end of that. I have seen that on private forums where they tried to use moderators and things got so restrictive that everyone abandoned the forum. That probably can't happen in a public forum but what can happen is that only the most negative and immature will dominate what would be left of a once good place.
In conclusion, we live in an age of technology where people can see their own words in print instantly and they love to see that. Ego rises and we joust in an imaginary world and "win" over others. Our words became important in our own minds as we gain Internet "fame". Some people then enjoy life on this plane. Some become addicted to what they are saying. I know someone who has posted about 270 times in 5 years. There are folks who have done more than that in the last month. What drives anyone to virtually live on a forum is a mystery that cannot be solved here but it may point to what you termed as the danger of what we are becoming.
With some failures myself, all one person can do is to really practice Aikido both on and off the mat, be temperate on this forum, always try to respect others, be helpful and leave the games and ego for another place.